When Susie Galvez bought Face Works Day Spa in Richmond, Va., two years ago, retail sales accounted for just 3% or her gross sales. As part of her one-year plan, Galvez set her sights on boosting retail sales to 10%. She hit that number in less that three months, and at the end of a year gad gotten it to 25%. Within two years, retail hit 43% of the spa’s overall sales.

How, you ask? “We make a big deal to the staff about retailing,” affirms Galvez. In her view, skin care products are “intangibles,” similar to selling weight loss and dating service programs because you have to use the products consistently over a period of time to see any results. (She recommends all salon owners read Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing by Harry Beckwith.)

Galvez embraces consultative selling, urging nail techs and estheticians to ask open-ended questions such as: What’s been going on with your hands? Did you know you have sun spots? When did they start?

“Knowing what to do with that information is just as important as asking for it, thought, because you can just talk and talk without solving the problem,” Galvez says, who hired a retail coordinator who will spend 15 minutes each week on-on-one with staff members showing them what’s new.

She’s also instituted 10-question “pop quizzes” across product lines to make sure technicians know their stuff. Galvez enlists her staff’s help in determining which products the salon sells and she pays a commission when they do sell. She pays employees a 10% commission on any regular retail and 25% on the spa’s private label line. She also breaks out retail and service commissions on their paychecks. “It makes a difference,: she says, “when they see the money they make right there in black and white.”

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